What Changed Rick Perry’s Mind on 2012?
Texas Governor Rick Perry has been getting some pretty good presidential buzz lately. With most of the Republican field beleaguered and underwater in the polls, Romney and Bachmann are the only two with any traction but look weak. Then there’s the a recent poll in which Perry came in second place of all the contenders nationwide.
With all that and Obama’s apparent weakness (especially in the electoral college) considered, Perry would seemingly be stupid not to jump in, and it looks like he about to make that leap. But it didn’t always seem that way. In fact, the Texas governor was vehemently against the idea not even a year ago. In an interview with Evan Smith of Newsweek magazine, he minced no words:
Smith: Everybody wants to know about your plans for 2012. Are you considering running and would you consider it?
Perry: No and no.
You are not considering running for president. You will not run for president.
Under any circumstances?
Vice president? Would you be willing to consider that?
No. I don’t care about going to Washington, D.C.
Your party could not come to you and say, “Governor, all the other alternatives are wanting. You’re our guy.”
There will be an alternative that is not wanting. I have a great interest in who this individual is going to be, but I want to be a governor who is leading a state. Our policies, and the results of those policies, are worth having a national dialogue about. I want people elected to Congress, to the United States Senate, and to the presidency in 2012 with the express message that we are going to go to Washington and try to make Washington as inconsequential in your life as we can. I want the states to become the laboratories of innovation and experimentation. And I want to get this country back.
So what changed his mind? He once refused to even consider a White House bid and said, flat out, he will not run for President but now he is set to prove himself wrong. He even went so far as to refuse running as a Vice Presidential nominee.
Perry’s response to not seeking the White House a year ago was admirable. He wants to lead a state that is in turn leading a national debate on smaller government and he didn’t want to give that up. But what is his reasoning now for taking the 2012 plunge? Ambition now that he sees an opening for himself that he later wrote off, or does he actually think he has what it takes get the nation back on track?